Blepharospasm (sometimes called "benign essential blepharospasm," BEB) is one of the most common focal dystonias. It involves involuntary eyelid spasms, eye closure, and increased blinking. Despite the success of botulinum toxin injections and, in some cases, pharmacologic or surgical interventions, BEB treatments are not completely efficacious and only symptomatic. We could develop principled strategies for preventing and reversing the disease if we knew the pathogenesis of primary BEB. The objective of this study was to develop a conceptual framework and dynamic circuit hypothesis for the pathogenesis of BEB. The framework extends our overarching theory for the multifactorial pathogenesis of focal dystonias (Peterson et al., 2010) to incorporate a two-hit rodent model specifically of BEB (Schicatano et al., 1997). We incorporate in the framework three features critical to cranial motor control: (1) the joint influence of motor cortical regions and direct descending projections from one of the basal ganglia output nuclei, the substantia nigra pars reticulata, on brainstem motor nuclei, (2) nested loops composed of the trigeminal blink reflex arc and the long sensorimotor loop from trigeminal nucleus through thalamus to somatosensory cortex back through basal ganglia to the same brainstem nuclei modulating the reflex arc, and (3) abnormalities in the basal ganglia dopamine system that provide a sensorimotor learning substrate which, when combined with patterns of increased blinking, leads to abnormal sensorimotor mappings manifest as BEB. The framework explains experimental data on the trigeminal reflex blink excitability (TRBE) from Schicatano et al. and makes predictions that can be tested in new experimental animal models based on emerging genetics in dystonia, including the recently characterized striatal-specific D1R dopamine transduction alterations caused by the GNAL mutation. More broadly, the model will provide a guide for future efforts to mechanistically link multiple factors in the pathogenesis of BEB and facilitate simulations of how exogenous manipulations of the pathogenic factors could ultimately be used to prevent and reverse the disorder.